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  /  Politic   /  Bob Menendez’s son survives House primary challenge despite dad’s criminal charges

Bob Menendez’s son survives House primary challenge despite dad’s criminal charges

Embattled Sen. Bob Menendez’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez, D-N.J., has survived a primary challenge despite the criminal indictments putting his father’s political future in peril.

Menendez’s opponent was Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who sought to tie the first-term Democrat to his father and denounced the pair as a ‘political machine’ running Garden State politics.

‘It’s time to move on from the party bosses and Menendez machine that have dominated NJ politics. In Congress, I won’t be beholden to anyone except for the voters,’ Bhalla wrote on X Monday.

Menendez’s victory over Bhalla all but ensures his re-election in November in the safe blue district, which includes parts of Newark and Jersey City. 

The elder Menendez and his wife were hit with more than a dozen criminal charges related to accusations he used his position in the Senate to benefit Egypt’s government and interfere in cases against three New Jersey businessmen, who were also charged. 

The criminal indictments say Sen. Bob Menendez accepted bribes of cash and gold bars in exchange for aiding Cairo, a particularly damning accusation that forced him to temporarily step back from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

There’s no evidence that the younger Menendez is tied to his father’s alleged crimes – however, the indictments reignited frustration among New Jersey progressives about the political dominance the Menendez family has exerted over the state for decades.

Before joining Congress in January 2023, Rob Menendez was a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a position he was appointed to by New Jersey’s progressive Gov. Phil Murphy.

He ran to represent New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District in 2022 after five-term former Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., retired, having cruised to victory with 83% of the vote.

Sires represented the 8th District after congressional maps were redrawn; he previously held the 13th District, which was also represented by Sen. Bob Menendez from 1993 until 2006, when he was elected to the Senate.

Despite his father’s political baggage, Rob Menendez clinched the support of the top three House Democrats – Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass.; and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.

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